By Delegate Rob Bloxom
Hi. This is Rob Bloxom with this week’s Capitol report as we barrel to the halfway point of the 2022 session. Our committee work on our House bills is finished, and all our bills must be acted on by the House to get the final vote in order to send them forward to the Senate.
This week the real push is in the Appropriations Committee. Any bill that has a fiscal impact comes to us. We do not debate the policy, as the committee is supposed to look only at the fiscal impact on the budget. The question is, “Do we fund this, and what gets trimmed back in order to pay for it?” We must present a balanced budget on Sunday, February 20 at 2:00 pm. The Senate presents their version of the budget a few hours after we do. Then the comparisons start and the negotiations begin. My guess is we will be worlds apart in our priorities and our approach to funding projects.
I look forward to defending the House’s position, but I am interested in looking at how the Senate Finance Committee funded the bills that they passed. I reiterate that former Governor Northam put in a lot of project funding for the Eastern Shore. I do appreciate it, but neither he, nor his staff are here to defend and promote them. I will do my best to get as much state support for the 100th District as I am able.
The last bill of interest that I will report this week is House Bill 1261. This removes the Citizen Board authority to give permits on applications to the Department of Environmental Quality. Over a period of time, these boards have begun imposing more hurdles for applicants to jump, adding time and cost for businesses to obtain permits. Currently there is a public comment process in place, and if twenty-five or more people request a public hearing, it is granted, along with additional time. The problem is these citizen boards, with no scientific reason, are asking the applicants for more than what the D.E.Q. is requiring. This is the reason I am carrying the bill so that their authority will be limited.
As always, I welcome you to contact me with any questions or concerns at my district office at (757)824-3456, my Richmond office at (804)698-1000 or email me at [email protected].